WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado Department of Transportation officials updated the situation that’s slowly turning into a traffic nightmare. A large part of U.S. Highway 36 caved in forcing drivers to find another way around the mess between Boulder and Denver.
CDOT said the eastbound lanes are completely closed near 104th, and crews were working on diverting traffic on to the westbound lanes. Crews say there aren’t any indications the same thing will happen to the westbound lanes because it’s a “completely separate structure.”
They will move eastbound traffic to the westbound lanes meaning there will be two lanes of travel in each direction for about half-of-a-mile. Drivers should expect the lane changes through Tuesday evening.
“Give yourself plenty of time, at least an extra 30 hour to get to your destination,” said Tamara Rollison, a spokeswoman for CDOT.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said the roadway was failing as a result of the clay below sliding. Heavy rain and snow this year were partially blamed. The roadway is built more than 30 feet above the ground, which once served as a lake.
Bill McIntyre is a retired engineer who lives nearby. He has a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. He studied the area before becoming a professor.
He thinks that train that passes underneath may also be a factor with the vibrations shaking the structure.
They first noticed a small crack on Monday. The crack widened by Friday. The road is sinking at about an inch per hour, officials said, but the rate fluctuates at different points of the roadway.
Drivers are urged to avoid the area or plan alternate routes in order to avoid the closure. CDOT’s recommended detours include the Northwest Parkway (toll road) to I-25; and SH 93 to SH 58, connecting to I-70.